New argentine ambassador anxious to boost trade with T&T

(Trinidad & Tobago) Argentina’s new Ambassador to T&T, Gustavo Martinez Pandiani, is not satisfied with the level of trade and business between both countries which has been “historically low” and he wants to see an increase in business done.

Pandiani, who arrived in T&T in June, explained to the Sunday Business Guardian during an interview why levels of trade have been low and gave examples of Argentine products he would like to see exported to T&T.

“One of my objectives here is to increase Argentine exports to T&T. I would say that we have had a low level of trade and we should have more bilateral trade. Sometimes the problem is the logistics. We need more direct connections. We need more flights. We need more maritime connections. The relationship with T&T goes beyond trade and investment. We need to work for the people of both countries and not only for the business community.”

He elaborated on what Argentine products he would like to see more of in T&T.

“Argentina has food security and is a provider of food and energy. Argentina provides more than ten times what we need for ourselves in terms of food and energy. Argentina is a huge producer. I want to see more Argentine products in T&T’s supermarkets. We produce everything and I mean everything in terms of food and agricultural products. From soya beans to corn to beef.”

He also said that he wants to see more wine from Argentina in T&T.

“We have beautiful wines. We have red wines, but also white, sweet wines and these are very nice for the Caribbean. I notice that the people of the Caribbean love white, sweet wines. I am already working with the distributors like Solera (Angostura) and with Brydens because I want to see more wines from Argentina in T&T’s supermarkets. As I did when I was the Ambassador to Barbados.”

Apart from wines, he also wants to see beef from Argentina in T&T as Argentina is one of the world’s top beef producers.

“We are already selling Argentine beef in Barbados after many years of negotiations. I look forward to working with the T&T authorities in order to get approval to bring Argentina’s excellent beef.”

Pandiani believes trade is a two-way route and also wants to see goods and services produced from T&T in Argentina.

“A sustainable trade relationship is a win-win for both countries. We can sell what we produce and you can sell what you produce. Argentina can sell more wine, while T&T can sell Argentina more rum.”

He also said that T&T and Argentina celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations this year.

Pandiani is no stranger to the Caribbean region having served in Caribbean countries in Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and St Lucia as Argentine Ambassador.

He intends to take a hands-on approach and promises to do more “field work” meeting not only Government officials and business leaders but also going into communities.

“What is field work? This is to work with the real people of T&T. I don’t like living in the diplomatic…talking to my colleagues about topics only we care about, cocktail receptions and that type of thing. I want to be part of T&T’s local communities. I want to be part of T&T as I will be living here for a couple of years. All my projects will be geared to a real impact in the productive forces of T&T from the fishing and farming communities to investment and trade.”

Technical cooperation

While Argentina has been committed to the Caribbean for many years, he said T&T and Argentina have a special relationship because of T&T’s historically influential energy industry.

He pointed out that at one time, Argentina used to buy T&T’s LNG (liquefied natural gas) but now Argentina has its own natural gas.

Despite the global movement towards alternative energy solutions and a low-carbon economy, he said both T&T and Argentina have a right to use their resources as they see fit.

“T&T is one of the most important countries in Caricom, not only because of the size of your country but also because of the oil and gas industry. Argentina is also an oil and gas producer and it is a characteristic that we share. It makes us closer countries in that we need to have as a strategy to connect with the world. For T&T, as well as Argentina, the production of oil will keep on being an important resource. T&T can play a role in the bridge between Latin America and the Caribbean. Not only geographically, but politically.”

Apart from energy, he gave examples of technical cooperation between the two countries.

“It is a real cooperation. It is not like some other countries try to impose sometimes because they have the resources. They give you all the answers. They know everything and you receive a donation. In my opinion you are supposed to work together from the beginning. A cooperation project is supposed to be done by both parties. If we want to cooperate, we must learn from each other.”

He said he had a meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture in T&T where the Deputy Permanent Secretary was part of the meeting and also the Inter American Institute of Cooperation and Agriculture (IICA).

“We are working together in putting a project on Artificial Intelligence tools on flood mitigation. After the passage of Beryl, this is a reality. It is not a theoretical need. It is a very practical need. So, Argentina has a lot of experience and a lot of technology developed in terms of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applied to climate change and flooding and drought and agriculture technologies,” said Pandiani.

“We and the IICA have a project where experts will be brought from Argentina before the end of the rainy season of this year. T&T’s agriculture stakeholders will be able to mitigate the effect of the flooding and drought. These are the types of projects that bring our countries together,” the Argentine ambassador said.

Another area of the economy that both countries can partner on is tourism, he said, pointing out that T&T being a Caribbean country, can help Argentina in this area.

Argentina currently holds the World Cup Championship and is the birthplace of Lionel Messi, one of the best football stars of this generation.

He said Argentina has been providing technical support to the Caribbean in the area of football for many years but Argentina has also been receiving assistance in cricket from the Caribbean.

“I have been providing football cooperation to the Caribbean for at least eight years. I brought a West Indies coach to Argentina to train our cricketers. Believe it or not, Argentina has a Cricket team. We are not as good as the West Indies, but we can learn from the Caribbean. This is a good example of cooperation. I can help you with football and you help me with cricket.”

He spoke about a meeting with the T&T Football Association (TTFA) where both sides agreed to share training tips.

“We are organizing a very important event on July 9. It will be the screening of the official movie of Messi in MovieTowne. It will be a cooperation. It will be a big event and also the broadcasting of the Copa America game. There will also be technical cooperation. Coaches from Argentina will come here to work with T&T coaches. We want to bring trainers here to train T&T’s coaches.”

Trade relations

According to the latest report available from the Argentine Investment and International Trade Agency, in 2022 Argentina exported US$14.5 million worth of products to T&T.

The main products exported from Argentina to T&T were soybean oil (US$8.43 Million), packaged medicines (US$1.46 Million), and cleaning products (US$978,000).

During the last 27 years, exports from Argentina to T&T have increased at an annualised rate of 2.8 percent, going from US$7.05 million in 1995 to US$14.5 million dollars in 2022.

On the other hand, T&T exported US$36.4 million worth of products to Argentina in 2022. The main products exported from T&T to Argentina were nitrogen fertilisers (US$20.4 Million), petroleum gas (US$15.8 million), and hard liquor (US$30.3 k).

During the last 27 years, exports from T&T to Argentina have increased at an annualised rate of 10.2 per cent, going from US$2.94 million in 1995 to US$36.4 million dollars in 2022.

Source. Guardian T&T

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